Asst. Prof. Edmund C. Tayao of the Department of Political Science of the Faculty of Arts and Letters spoke last August 24, 2017 (Thursday), at the 2nd Training Session of the Konrad Adenauer School of Young Politicians, in Penang, Malaysia. In his speech, Tayao talked about how local institutional governance takes place in Asia, presenting a regional perspective of the matter.
In his speech, Tayao presented deconcentration, delegation, and devolution as modalities of decentralisation, which is vital for local governments to effectively manage their own jurisdictions in relation to having a central / national government. Tayao, an advocate of federal reform in the Philippines, pushed for local governance as it is crucial for the faster and more effective delivery of social services, for local government units (LGUs) to become major public employers and thus spur economic movement, and because it benefits the causes of democracy, administration, and economy. Tayao cautioned, though, that no single format fits all, since the model must be integrated with the specifics of the country.
Tayao further presented that in unitary countries, local government expenditure is significantly lower, or only 13% of the gross domestic product and only 29% of public expenditure. This is in stark contrast to OECD and federal countries, which show higher rates.
A comparison of how ASEAN countries like Cambodia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam attempted the adoption of subnational governments / local governance was likewise presented, along with the breakdown of responsibilities of local governments. Data from the Human Development Index as well as poverty rates were likewise shown to see the differences among countries that adopt SNGs and those that still stick with the unitary form.
Looking forward to local government development, Tayao summarized Asian challenges into three: 1) how to facilitate intergovernmental relations; 2) how to institutionalize a fiscal mechanism, either fixed or proportional; and 3) how to enforce accountability and build capacity for SNG, LGU, and their officials.